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22/07/2010

Inspire Win For Portsmouth Students

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A documentary film about the decline of Portsmouth as a traditional seaside resort has won first prize for three student film-makers who graduate this week.
The University of Portsmouth students won the award for best documentary at the Inspire Film Festival for their graduate film titled The Last Resort which received critical acclaim from the judging panel including legendary film critic, Barry Norman. The film explores the decline of the Southsea as a traditional seaside resort told from the perspective of an elderly sea-swimmers group, a sea-front cafe manager and the owner of a model village.
The 16 minute film made by Russell Oastler, David Kinnaird and Lucas Way has since been picked up by the Sunday Times Short Film Community, an online showcase for the work of new film-makers which goes live in August.
Russell, 28, who directed the film, was born and bred in Portsmouth and said he selected the location and the characters after taking photographs of the sea-front and noting how much it had changed since he enjoyed happy times there as a child with his family.
He said: "I remembered my childhood in Southsea as the golden age of the bucket and spade but when I saw it again with fresh eyes everything looked rather tired. I decided to make a film which explored the decline through the eyes of some of the locals who have seen it change over the years."
The film explores the declining fortunes of The Big Wheel Cafe at Clarence Pier and Southsea's model village, run by Mike Armet, who owns the attraction on Southsea Esplanade.
The film also introduces a group of Southsea die-hard swimmers who take a dip in the Solent's chilly water 365 days a year. Some have been swimming there for over 30 years and even swim on Christmas Day. Sadly one of their group, 86-year-old Dorothy Browning, passed away during the making of the documentary and the film has been dedicated to her memory.
Russell, who has just returned from work-experience on a professional short film, said it was never his plan to be a documentary film-maker but he enjoys the unplanned nature of the medium.
"I like the idea that you don't really know what might happen in a documentary - it could be something totally unexpected," he said.
The students' tutor, Ben Thompson from Creative Technologies, said that the film has a great deal of substance and showed level of maturity which deserved to the recognition.
He said: "A documentary director needs the ability to get the most from the people taking part in the film - it's a special skill which you just can't teach, it's intuitive. It's a superb film and all three have what it takes for a career in film-making."
The three students, who collected their award this week, graduate from their course in BA Hons Television and Film Production this week when they will also receive the Creative Technologies departmental prize for Best Short Documentary.
David Kinnaird also collects the prize for Best Digital Cinematography for which he receives a digital video camera from a representative from industry specialists, JVC, who sponsored the award.
The film can be seen at: http://vimeo.com/12377469
(BMcN/KMcA)
VMI.TV Ltd

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